NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 3, 2004

Mass transit projects do not live up to their promises of providing cheap transportation and less congestion for urban dwellers, says economic speaker and television program host Dennis McCuistion.

With plans underway to expand the mass transit system in Dallas and Fort Worth, as other urban areas nationwide have been doing, McCuistion writes in the Dallas Morning News about the stark realities of mass transit projects:

  • Subsidies for light rail systems are 250 times as much as highway subsidies, and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system relies on taxpayers to pay 90 percent of its operating costs.
  • Dallas and Fort Worth's transit systems have required $3 billion in higher sales taxes from those who are not using mass transit.
  • The New York City subway system is the only system that is more productive than a single lane of freeway.
  • The Texas Transportation Institute reports that cities using light rail have actually experienced more congestion, not less, over the past 20 years; moreover, there is no evidence showing that light rail systems have reduced congestion or pollution.

Despite mass transit projects in many urban areas, 87.9 percent of commuters nationwide continue to drive alone, says McCuistion, with commuters primarily driving from suburb to suburb, not to downtown areas. In the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, less than 3 percent of commuters use mass transit.

Source: Dennis McCuistion, "The Contrarian View: This Isn't the Ticket to Ride." Dallas Morning News, May 30, 2004.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues